Clore wine center construction contract awarded
Updated: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 10:30 AM
By DAN WHEAT
PROSSER, Wash. -- A $3.2 million contract has been awarded for construction of the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center near Prosser.
Construction is expected to begin in January and it may open late next year.
"We're incredibly excited about it. The board is working hard on the capital campaign to raise about $950,000 still needed for the exhibits and audio-visual programming," said Deb Heintz, first vice president of the center.
The center will promote Washington wines, food and agriculture. The land and facilities will be owned by the Port of Benton. The private, nonprofit Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center runs the center.
The Port of Benton received 16 construction bids and awarded a contract to Burke Construction Group of Spokane, Heintz said.
The 15,000-square-foot facility is being funded by federal and state grants.
A 2,400-square-foot vineyard pavilion, next to the center, opened June 30, 2011. It has already hosted many events and 35 events so far are planned there for next year, Heintz said. The pavilion seats 50 guests inside and has room for 200 outside.
The entire project's cost with land and infrastructure is about $6.5 million, Heintz said.
The Washington wine industry has planned the center for more than 12 years as a place for tourists, the public and wine connoisseurs to learn about Washington wines and their emerging prominence in the wine world, Heintz said.
The center is named for Walter Clore, a researcher at the Washington State University Irrigated Agriculture Research Extension Center near Prosser from 1937 to 1976. He tested more than 250 American, European and hybrid varieties. He partnered with WSU microbiologist Charles Nagel to determine which varieties would grow best where and under what conditions. His research, vision and passion convinced Washington farmers they could grow vinifera grapes and produce fine wine. He has been recognized by the state Legislature as the father of the Washington wine industry.
Clore died in 2003 at 91. His daughter, Nancy Dexter, Yakima, was on the center's board and now is on an exhibits committee.